The sale of Keystone, owned by the Brazilian Marfrig, to the American giant Tyson Foods, will put the company of businessman Marcos Molina back on the 100% cattle route. With the transaction, closed for US $ 2.5 billion, the national slaughterhouse is finally leaving the chicken segment to concentrate on "steak", he told the state Eduardo Miron, financial director of the company.
Obtained for nearly $ 1.26 billion in 2010, Keystone is the largest supplier of industrialized chicken to fast food chains, the nuggets, such as McDonald's. With sales of $ 2.8 billion in 2017, Keystone accounted for 11% of Marfrig's global sales. In addition to Tyson, which led the company, it was actively coveted by the American Cargill and China's Cofco.
With the sale of this asset (which includes production units and distribution centers in Asia and Australia), the Brazilian company will continue to supply as a supplier for McDonald & # 39; s and Wendy's, but only for beef. In the transaction Marfrig decided to have a Keystone unit in the United States, in Ohio (in the city of North Baltimore), which produces beefburger and invoices annually $ 300 million per year.
Miron said that all the money raised from the sale of the company will be used to reduce the group's heavy debts – from R $ 16.3 billion in the second quarter of 2017. The net debt / EBITDA ratio will fall from the current 4.2 times to less than 2.5 times as many times, bringing the company back to a healthy plateau.
The company does not foresee any new acquisitions for the time being, but does not exclude the future. The group announced in April that it had bought 51 percent of the national beef, which it placed in the global beef-vice market leader, behind only rival JBS from the Batista brothers. Miron said the refrigerator should focus on organic expansion and benefit from the good momentum of the meat industry in the United States. The focus, he says, is to grow in the foodservice. "We do not see the company as a commodity group, we will increasingly work on our brand," Miron said.
The expectation is to end with a turnover of $ 40 billion in 2018 – this turnover includes the purchase of 51% of National Beef and the Keystone exit of this year's balance sheet. In the second quarter, approximately 70% of the company's sales came from group sales in the United States.
Marfrig, whose main shareholders are the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES), was one of the groups selected by the development bank as one of the national champions & # 39; in the meat sector, along with other refrigerators such as JBS, Bertin and Independência. BNDES injected more than R $ 4 billion into the company. In recent years, Marcos Molina has even sold other assets – including the Moy Park refrigerator (for JBS) to reduce the debt burden.
It is not the intention of the group to change the company structure or to transfer the head office of the company outside the country, as has been considered in the past by the rival.